Santa Monica College officials and others gathered at the College’s Airport Campus on January 31 for a plaque dedication ceremony in honor of the late aviation muralist Andy Blinn.
The plaque will be displayed right next to the aviation mural Blinn painted when he was a teenager, in a stairwell at SMC’s Airport Campus at 2800 Airport Avenue. Until 1988, the building was the Donald Douglas Museum and Library. The mural, completed by then 16-year-old Blinn in 1981, depicts various Donald Douglas aircraft built from the 1920s to the 1970s.
Rod Merl, the Planning and Administration Manager for Santa Monica Airport, noted this was a “great way to commemorate” the role Donald Douglas Aircraft played in the City’s history.
Blinn, who suffered from cystic fibrosis since he was six months old, showed artistic talent from a very young age. That talent, along with his interest in aviation, motivated him to propose painting the mural to the director of the museum when he was only 15 years old. With the support of his parents, Blinn was able to complete the mural in about a year’s time, from a sketch he made on grid-lined paper. His mother, Marjeanne, told the Mirror that the museum put up special scaffolding so the five-foot Blinn could complete the mural.
The plaque states: “Andy lived courageously with the genetic disease cystic fibrosis. He treated each day of his life as a gift. He loved art, airplanes, computers and many friends. He achieved awards in every field he entered. He gave his creative spirit to everything he touched.”
Blinn’s legacy website, andyblinn.com, notes that Blinn was “never daunted by a blank piece of paper, he experimented with any media put before him – finger-paint, clay, glass mosaic, charcoal, chalk, acrylics, oils, block prints and plain old pencil. His first beach sandcastle won a prize. His cardboard Halloween costumes were legendary. Attending a cartooning class with his father at age 10, he was the youngest student the Torrance Adult School had ever had.”
While studying art and computer graphic design as an undergraduate at California State University at Dominquez Hills, Blinn and some other students designed a mural with a computer, which is still displayed at the university. A plaque to commemorate Blinn, who passed away on December 5, 2005, is displayed there as well.